Turtle Beach Impact 700 and Grip 500 Reviews

With a huge chunk of the console accessories market under its belt, Turtle Beach is expanding its PC presence. Its Ear Force Z60 headset impressed us enough to earn an award, and though the Impact 500 keyboard and Grip 300 mouse didn't quite manage the same, they both still had a lot going for them. Today, we're again looking at a mouse and keyboard, but this time at the flagship models – the Impact 700 and Grip 500. How will Turtle Beach's best efforts stack up against an increasingly competitive market?

Turtle Beach Impact 700 Review

Manufacturer: Turtle Beach
UK price (as reviewed):
£159.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $199.95 (ex Tax)

While the Impact 500 has a tenkeyless design, the range-topping Impact 700 is a full-size keyboard, with mechanical switches again used throughout. The build quality is truly excellent – as we said before, the choice of Nordic Game Supply as a partner in producing these peripherals was a good one (as before, this is an early sample, hence the Nordic layout – the usual region-specific ones will be ready soon). The plastic chassis is reinforced with a thick steel plate, giving the keyboard a rigidity and weight rarely felt. There's also a pleasant soft-touch coating externally which is resistant to marks and scratches. The downside of this quality is the price - £160 is a massive amount to fork out for a keyboard – but it truly is built to last.

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This time around Turtle Beach does give you a keycap puller. This makes cleaning a much less fiddly task and also makes upgrading to a custom set of caps easier – the laser-engraved ones here are all standard size, so a full replacement is within reason.

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That said, the main reason for the bundled key puller is the 11 extra custom keys that are all thrown in. There's a replacement set of WASD keys, a 'GG' key presumably to replace the Esc one, a Caps Lock replacement and five more with various symbols and logos that can be used to take the place of keys in the lower row.

Extra keys are all well and good, but there's again no wrist rest bundled. We understand that not everybody needs or wants one, but for some it's a necessity, and it does seem stingy not to have detachable one given how expensive the Impact 700 is.

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On the underside is a set of four rubber pads that provide plenty of grip. The rear flick-out legs also have some grip applied; not quite as much but more than enough to keep it in position.

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The cable here isn't detachable, but it has a reinforced connection is firmly affixed. It's also thick and nicely braided, and the reason for the thickness is the set of pass-through ports; two USB 2 ports and headphone/mic jacks. While the dual USB ports only require one extra USB port from your computer, we'd rather have a single USB 3 pass-through than two slower ones.

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The choice of switch for the Impact 700 is the Cherry MX Brown. We've always had a particular soft spot for this light switch, finding it offers a great balance for those who do a lot of typing and gaming. Typists will appreciate the feedback which helps prevent bottoming out too often, especially compared to Reds, while double and multi-taps are easier when gaming than with Blues. As such, using the Impact 700 was a joy in all situations, with the keycaps proving neither too sticky nor too grippy. Still, it, of course, comes down to personal preference, so it's a shame Turtle Beach doesn't offer any alternatives like many of its competitors do.

The Impact 700 also comes with just 6-key rollover. While this is still going to be enough for the vast majority of situations, especially given that Ctrl, Alt and Shift don't appear to count towards to total, n-key rollover is always appreciated, especially by the types of enthusiasts willing to pay £160 for a quality keyboard. It's a shame Turtle Beach hasn't pushed the boat out a little more for its flagship model.

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All of the keys are equipped with red backlighting too. There are three levels of brightness available – the highest was a little intense for us but the other two were fine. As is typical with backlit Cherry MX keys, the LED is fitted above the switch. As such, Turtle Beach has sensibly put all symbols at the top of the keycaps, so the lighting through them is still very even, and there's also a pleasant underglow from the steel plate beneath. Using the FN key with F11 and F12, you can also set the keys to breathe fast or slow, and choose between fully lit, WASD and arrow keys, WASD and 1-6 or off altogether. This is a neat addition, but considering Corsair's original Vengeance K70 had hardware-based, programmable per-key backlighting, it's still not that special.

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Other functions enabled by the FN key include media control (F1-F4) and volume adjustments (F5-F7). Dedicated keys would have been preferred but it's still useful to have these at your fingertips.

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Conclusion

The Impact 700 undeniably has outstanding build quality, and for many enthusiasts this will be a real plus. While that, plus the full set of Cherry MX Browns, goes a long way towards justifying the cost, it doesn't go all the way. The absence of a wrist-rest solution and n-key rollover is especially irksome. We do appreciate the pass-through ports and media controls, and we can do without masses of customisation, but given that the Corsair Gaming K70 RGB is both very well built and highly customisable it's a shame Turtle Beach hasn't dished out something more unique for the price. We also would have liked more switch types and backlighting colours offered, although Turtle Beach may well be waiting to see how its initial venture into the keyboard market plays out before committing to multiple production runs. All said, we're happy to see the company producing high quality peripherals, and hope that continues, but it will need to offer something a little more special to truly stand out at this price point.

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